In a rare move Monday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear a critical Second Amendment case that challenges the ultra-restrictive New York requirements for residents seeking a concealed carry permit for self-defense purposes. The New York carry laws case provides massive potential for a precedent-setting judgement.
U.S. Supreme Court Looking at New York Carry Laws Challenge
The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, focuses on New York’s refusal to grant concealed carry permits to law-abiding citizens without them having to show “proper cause.”
The NYSRPA contends that New York’s refusal to grant carry permits to law-abiding residents simply on the basis of self-defense violates the Second Amendment.
“Perhaps the single most important unresolved Second Amendment question after this Court’s landmark decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller, and McDonald v. City of Chicago, is whether the Second Amendment secures the individual right to bear arms for self-defense where confrontations often occur: outside the home,” the group wrote in its petition to the court. “The text, history and tradition of the Second Amendment and this Court’s binding precedents compel the conclusion that the Second Amendment does indeed secure that right.”
Interestingly, the results of the carry case could have a much wider reach than just the state of New York. There are currently seven other states that also have “may-issue” concealed carry laws on the books; these allow the government to set additional stringent requirements for applicants beyond passing a background check and paying a permitting fee.
The court is likely to lean heavily on the previously mentioned 2008 Heller decision. There, it ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. A few years later, the ruling in McDonald specified that fundamental right applies to the states.
Rare 2A Opportunity
NRA-ILA Executive Director Jason Ouimet said this rare example of the high court taking on a 2A case is a welcomed occurrence.
“The Court rarely takes Second Amendment cases,” Ouimet said. “Now it’s decided to hear one of the most critical Second Amendment issues. We’re confident that the Court will tell New York and the other states that our Second Amendment right to defend ourselves is fundamental, and doesn’t vanish when we leave our homes.”
In fact, recent years have found the country’s high court turn down far more 2A-related cases than it has heard. That prompted Justice Clarence Thomas to express his displeasure concerning the court’s refusal to hear such cases.
“This Court would almost certainly review the constitutionality of a law requiring citizens to establish a justifiable need before exercising their free speech rights,” he wrote after the court turned down a number of gun rights cases. “And it seems highly unlikely that the Court would allow a State to enforce a law requiring a woman to provide a justifiable need before seeking an abortion. But today, faced with a petition challenging just such a restriction on citizens’ Second Amendment rights, the Court simply looks the other way.”
The court had agreed to hear another New York Second Amendment case—New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. City of New York—last year. However, the court ruled it moot after the city changed its law, which made it unlawful to transport a gun even to a second home or shooting range outside the city, in order to avoid losing the lawsuit.